Et voila, mes amis! And just like that, autumn’s here and it has brought downpour along with it. Colourful umbrellas fill the streets and my beard’s looking a little windswept. Instead of making jokes with passers-by in Parco Sempione, I’m happy to stay in the Nano Bleu shop and get to know other toys: there’s so many of us! Did you know that Teddy Steiff lives here, the oldest of us all? He was born in 1902 and for me he’s an actual legend.
Do you know him? It’s time to introduce Teddy and Steiff, the brand for collectable soft toys!
Steiff soft toys: Teddy Bear’s here
The story of Steiff’s soft toys begins with the story of its German founder Margarete Steiff. Burdened from a young age by a debilitating paralysis, Margarete overcame chronic pain in her right hand by becoming a seamstress with her sisters and starting her business. Inspired by a magazine, in 1879 Margarete created an elephant-shaped pincushion which became an overnight sensation as a children’s toy.
Just six years after the founding of her manufacturing factory in 1880, Margarete sold more than 5000 elephant ‘pincushions’, broadening her soft toy collection to include all kinds of stuffed animals: monkeys, donkeys, horses, camels, pigs, cats, dogs, kangaroos and giraffes. Because, as Margarete loved to say, ‘for children, only the best will do!’.
And so we finally reach 1902, the birth of the legendary Teddy Bear, the most famous stuffed animal in the world. Born out of Richard’s, Margarete’s nephew, creative spirit, Teddy Bear is the first stuffed animal with mobile limbs in a now iconic chestnut brown colour.
Be honest mes amis, when you think of a teddy bear, is it not in fact Teddy, with his ear label, that comes to mind? Pour moi, c’est comme ça!
To this day Steiff has a huge catalogue of stuffed animals with unmistakable branding – a label on an ear – it’s a winning story. But most of all, there’s news: a new line of products for early infants. Let’s take a closer look together.
New Steiff Soft Toys: cuddles for babies and toddlers
German company Steiff is unstoppable, and today it launches a new range for infants. Pour les bébés there are blankets, shakers, music boxes and soft toys in organic cotton. Curly-haired sheep, bow-tied rabbits, bears in dungarees, cuddly doggies, super soft lions! The more apprehensive parents need not fear: as well as using organic materials, all Steiff soft toys undergo a strict, meticulous safety check. The soft toys are highly flame resistant and the small pieces are resistant to wear and tear.
What are you waiting for? This brand has a lot to teach us. Margarete Steiff was an unlucky girl, but her story is one of tenacious determination. It’s also a story of support and companionship. Her sisters, her father, her brother-in-law, her nephew: they all played a role in pushing her towards independence and towards her destiny to be successful. And is that not what we ought to do with every enfant? Always support them, so that they each will reach their ‘Teddy Bear’.
I’ll be waiting for you in central Milan in my toy shop Nano Bleu, to learn together how far it’s possible to go… thanks to a teddy bear friend!